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Some books become standard objects in the home, as familiar as a piece of furniture. And this is one of them. I couldn’t say why exactly because the story and illustrations are so simple, but perhaps that is part of the reason.
Regardless, this is one of the few books that many of us in the family will quote, even if months have passed since the most recent reading – the most popular quote being, “Duck for dinner?!?!?!?!”
The story is of a group of animal friends who are all afraid of the local dog, but it turns out that he’s actually nice. So the themes are of friendship, overcoming fear, and not judging someone solely on appearances.
A fun book to read aloud with a kid because of all the different voices.
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Like all the books on this site, this is one that our kids pull off the shelf and ask to be read over and over. A difference here is that they’ve been hearing this book being read longer than they can even remember.
The theme is of comforting a child who is nervous about the dark and about going to sleep. But the real appeal to kids, as far as I can tell, is in the charming (and surreal) drawings of rabbits and foxes floating in bubbles up in the night sky.
And the appeal to parents is that it puts into words all the sweet and loving thoughts we want to express to our kids as we put them to bed.
This is one of the essential books on our board book shelf.
Originally published: 2005
Author: Mike Jolley
Illustrator: Mique Moriuchi
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This book introduces the character of Hiccup, who went on to have more adventures in the better known series, “How to Train Your Dragon”. It’s a fun, but serious story of a little boy who is thrust into the world of adults (specifically tough viking men) and has to overcome fear and take on responsibility.
The book comes with a CD of the author, Cressida Cowell, reading the story. The CD also includes a track of the actor David Tennant (Dr. Who #10, among many other roles) reading a selection from “How to Train Your Dragon” in his rich Scottish accent.
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My kids were scared of this book at first and it took a lot of convincing to read it. After they saw the twist ending however, they asked for it over and over, proud that they had conquered their fear. A classic.
An interesting dynamic occurs after the first few pages, when Grover begins begging the reader to not turn the page. Sometimes the kids think we shouldn’t turn the page and just put the book down, honoring Grover’s wishes. And other times they gleefully demand we turn the page even though we’re being asked not to. This gives the kids some agency and a sense of violating the rules, in a harmless way.
This is a fun one to read aloud because Grover gets so emotional and worked up over the course of the story.